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Which Kind of Iodine and How Much to Use?
IODINE is a beautiful metallic orange colour, soft crystals that easily mush with a gentle press of the fingers. It dissolves readily into ethanol. It combines with other elements and small compounds to make an IODIDE.
Our body likes to have both forms – Iodine and Iodide.
Iodine was a medical standard until the 1940’s when it was pushed out of medical use. In the mid 1990’s it was extensively researched and trialled by Guy Abrahams. Abrahams was a pioneer who did great work, go to “The Iodine Project” for a best place to begin serious research. He was supported by Flechas and Brownstein who have also written extensively on their own research. Sally Fallon of the Weston Price Foundation understands iodine well.
Elemental iodine is used by the thyroid to make thyroid hormone. It travels as I2 – two bonded atoms which are readily dissociated and utilised via the iodine symporters in the thyroid gland. Iodine starvation is the main reason for any thyroid enlargement as the gland swells trying to gain enough from the bloodstream.
The ‘salt form’ of Iodide is needed in the highly vasculated organ tissue like breast, uterus, ovary, prostate, it is also needed by general body tissue like muscle. Examples of iodides are potassium iodide and ammonium iodide.
A single dose of iodine is easily stored by the body and will last a long time, so even a little is very helpful. However the best use of iodine is to have a daily dose large enough to allow a reasonable surplus beyond immediate needs so there’s enough available to gently saturate the entire body over time.
This takes about a year and is quite life changing – all tissue is healthier for it, even the brain. It is the essence of normal thyroid function. Cysts of breast, uterus and ovary tend to dissolve, plus an antimicrobial shield is built through the body, resistant to viruses, bacteria and fungi. Harmful microbes are suppressed, usually to insignificance, although many persist at low levels in dense collagen and cartilage. It is the frontline for Lyme Disease and effective dosing costs less than $1 per week.
A big dose of iodine cannot be absorbed and is released for elimination, mostly through the urine and mucous membranes – it literally becomes an effective antibiotic.
Some people feel they are allergic to iodine, but we cannot be allergic to an essential mineral. The problem is that a chronically depleted thyroid can get excited to have some iodine, it could make a burst of thyroid hormone causing a hyperthyroid state – pain in the gland, jittery, nervous, sweaty, wide awake and unable to sleep. Also iodine starts a detox of bromines and fluorides and possibly other metals and poisons.
Since the late 1940’s iodine use has been suppressed. No doctor will have anything to do with it apart from using Betadine (povidone iodine) as a topical antiseptic. Most naturopaths will not use more than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA).
Medical trials show iodine supplement programs have problems but they invariably fail to dose selenium as well. This is the critical aspect of iodine use – a suitable selenium supplement must also be taken daily.
This amazing mineral should be built into our lives as a regular supplement, which means we start slowly with small to moderate doses, gently increasing over time to the appropriate personal dose.
What Kind of Iodine?
There are four kinds of iodine in routine use as supplements, all of them aqueous (water based) solutions. Ethanol based solutions are toxic at effective dose levels.
Two forms were in common medical use a hundred years ago – Lugol’s Iodine and Saturated Solution Potassium Iodide (SSKI). Nascent Iodine is available at retail level and Iosol Iodine is available through naturopaths in Queensland only.
All registered iodine containing supplements use potassium iodide. This is also the form used in iodised salt, but at a low level which also tends to “sublime” or evaporate to insignificance over a few months. Another disadvantage of iodised salt is that it is processed or refined to some degree.
A pure elemental iodine as single, electrically charged atoms. From the inspiration of Edgar Cayce in the 1930’s. Contains 400 micrograms per drop.
In 1830 the French chemist Lugol found a way to keep iodine in solution in water – he used 5% elemental iodine, 10% potassium iodide and 85% distilled water. This form has been the standard supplement ever since, it has helped countless lives through the centuries and continues to do so. It contains 6.25 milligram per drop. This is called “5% Lugol’s”. Some countries have medical restrictions which only allow “2% Lugol’s”.
Larger doses of potassium iodide could cause congestion in the thyroid with the risk of nodules in the long term.
Dating back to the 1940’s this form contains elemental iodine from kelp and ammonium iodide in a base of glycerine. It contains 1.8 milligrams of iodine per drop.
The elemental iodine is gentle and effective. Also, ammonium is more easily freed from the iodide than potassium would be, making this a highly effective and well tolerated supplement. Keep in mind, this form creates a free ammonium molecule which is natural to the body and simply converted to urea, it is not ammonia, which is toxic.
This is Saturated Solution of Potassium Iodide, with potassium iodide crystals dissolved to saturation in distilled water. It contains 50 milligrams of iodine per drop.
It is the best form for short term high dosing as an antibiotic. It can be combined 50/50 with DMSO for a transdermal supplement, perfect for the 5% of people who react badly to oral dosing, one little bottle will be ample to get the body ready for oral drops. It is a topical antimicrobial, ideal to put a couple of drops on a tick bite to penetrate deeply and eliminate toxins and microbes. It is kept in hospitals for emergency use as a lung decongestant.
What is the Best Dose?
Before we start, lets understand the measuring units. These are milligrams (mg) – there are 1000 in a gram. The next unit is the microgram (mcg) – there are 1000 in a milligram. For iodine the medically recommended doses are in micrograms, the beneficial doses are in milligrams.
Dosage advice varies widely.
The RDA for iodine is around 150 micrograms, about one sixth of a milligram.
The dosage level determined beneficial and effective by Guy Abrahams in The Iodine Project was 50 milligrams daily as 8 drops of Lugol’s. This is 300 times the RDA.
A doctor in the 1920’s would prescribe single dose of 1 gram Potassium Iodide, just as a doctor today would prescribe antibiotics. This dose proved to be most beneficial – it was about 4,600 times today’s RDA.
My experience is that a dose around 5 milligrams daily, supported by 350 micrograms of selenium, is beneficial and effective in every way, although some people are happier with up to about 12 milligrams of iodine daily. Higher doses than this are not needed and not recommended.
That’s the adult dose. For children use proportionally smaller amounts. It is extremely safe with a wide safety margin. My 4 year old grandson had a chronic whooping cough, after some weeks my daughter decided to use iodine therapy – she misunderstood my instructions and put him on 17,000 times the RDA for 4 days. The only noticeable effect was vibrant health, he avoided antibiotics and overall his health is more resilient and lungs stronger than before. He’s actually in glowing good health, starting school and months in advance with reading. We love iodine! The only other supplement that comes close to it for power, effectiveness, simplicity and minimal cost is ascorbic acid.
Comparing Types of Iodine
Positives – readily taken up by the thyroid. Available as a retail product. Ideal for chronically depleted persons to get started with supplementing.
Negatives – quite expensive for the amount of iodine it contains. Does not have iodide to balance the iodine so is not ideal for dosing to body sufficiency or longer term use.
Positives – well proven as safe and effective. Best value supplement. One or two drops daily is ample.
Negatives – not as easily obtained as it used to be. Higher doses can feel harsh. Small risk of thyroid congestion or nodules from long term use.
Positives – well tolerated with a soft supportive energy about it.
Negatives – only allowed to be sold in Queensland via a consultation from a registered naturopath, restricted from sale in every other state. May be subject to outright restrictions in the future. From the USA, may become difficult for naturopathic suppliers to import for us. If this happens the best alternative is Lugol’s.
Positives – best iodine for short term high level dosing – safe and effective.
Negatives – almost impossible to obtain now.
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